Epistemology neutralized

Open access

Abstract

The thesis that knowledge is a partly evaluative concept is now a widespread view in epistemology, informing some prominent debates in the field. Typically, the view is embraced on the grounds that justification is a necessary condition for knowledge and a normative concept — a reasonable motivation. However, the view also has counterintuitive implications, which have been neglected. In particular, it implies that J.L. Mackie’s error-theory of value entails global epistemic scepticism and that any true knowledge claim suffices to prove the error-theory is false. In this paper, I elaborate these difficulties and address objections at length.

Armstrong, D.M. 1973. Belief, Truth, and Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ayer, A.J. 1946. Language, Truth, and Logic. London: Gollancz.

Ayer, A.J. 1956. The Problem of Knowledge. London: Macmillan.

Blackburn, Simon. 1996. Securing the Nots: Moral Epistemology for the Quasi-Realist. In Moral Knowledge?: New Readings in Moral Epistemology, edited by W. Sinnott-Armstrong and M. Timmons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blackburn, Simon. 1998. Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Gibbard, Allan. 1990. Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Goldman, Alvin. 1979. What is justified belief? In Justification and Knowledge: New Studies in Epistemology, edited by G. Pappas. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Goldman, Alvin. 2006. Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kim, Jaegwon. 1988. What is ‗Naturalized Epistemology’? Philosophical Perspectives 2: 381-406.

Mackie, J.L. 1977. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Moser, P., Mulder, D. and Trout, J.D. 1998. The Theory of Knowledge: A Thematic Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Plantinga, Alvin. 1993. Warrant: The Current Debate. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Pollock, John and Cruz, Joseph. 1999. Contemporary Theories of Knowledge. Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield.

Quine, W.V.O. 1969. Epistemology Naturalized. In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter. 2006. Moral Skepticisms. New York: Oxford University Press.

Steup, Matthias. 1996. An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Steup, Matthias. 1998. A Defense of Internalism. In The Theory of Knowledge, edited by L. Pojman. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Zagzebski, Linda. 1999. What is Knowledge? In The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, edited by J. Greco and E. Sosa. Oxford: Blackwell.